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EDITORIAL: Support St. John’s in its curling bid


Tell your friends and family to get out and support St. John’s bid to host the Tim Hortons Brier.

Yes, support a St. John’s event. And not just because it’s an initiative that will prove beneficial to the province, but because it’s the right thing to do.

And, if it works, it could pay dividends for Corner Brook.

St. John’s is in the final stretch of its campaign to collect deposits on full-event passes for the 2017 Brier, should the city be lucky enough to be awarded the prestigious tournament.

Olympic gold medal winner, Brad Gushue, is the bid’s spokesperson and he was quick to play up the need to sell these deposits in aiding the local bid.

“There’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be a sell-out if comes here, but we’ve got to prove to them that it will be,” said Gushue this week.

Bob Cole, a former provincial men’s curling winner whose much more recognizable as “the” voice of Hockey Night in Canada, is also pushing on St. John’s behalf. Like Gushue, he’s selling the need for pass sales.

“The most important thing is for Curling Canada to know that we have the fan base that are committed to coming to the Brier if in fact they award it to Newfoundland,” he said.

No doubt, St. John’s has an angled-raised-triple-takeout in front of it. The Canadian Curling Association has rules around hosting, and they don’t jive well with what St. John’s has. Among them is the requirement of an arena capacity of 10,000.

Mile One has a hockey capacity of 6,287 seats, meaning the national body can shut the door on it immediately.

However, in 2014, Kamloops, B.C. hosted the Brier in its 6,400-seat Interior Savings Centre, meaning precedent has been set.

If milking the deposits works, as well as Newfoundland’s ability to become a marketable “destination” for hoards of curling fanatics, St. John’s could be in the running and stack up well against others centres in the vying, including Sault Ste. Marie.

How does the rest of the province fit into this? 

Well, before people run to their “victims” chair, please remember the Brier is one of the most widely viewed sports events in the country. It’s not often that calibre event makes it the Rock, and curling fans across the province will have an opportunity to go see for themselves what they are normally forced to watch on television — or travel exorbitant distances to go see.

In addition to that, sports hosting begets sports hosting.

It wasn’t that long ago the local curling club proved it could handle the logistics of a national event with the curling juniors.

Well, the Canadian Curling Association’s second biggest event is the Scotties Tournaments of Hearts. The minimum seating capacity for that event is only 3,500.

If St. John’s is successful, and it can pull it off, the chances of Corner Brook bidding and hosting the women’s national championship would become all the greater. Isn’t that reason enough to show your Brier support?

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